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Up close with Roxy's late 80s Diamond
Matt’s not the only one with a new bike here at swrve HQ.
Roxy has a new Diamond!
There’s an amazing story behind her bike and as the foundation of any ride is its frame let’s start there.
What you’re looking at is a Diamond, made by custom builder Greg Diamond out of Santa Barbara in the late ‘80s. Greg was a fixture in the Santa Barbara / Isla Vista community since relocating there from his native Philadelphia in the 1970s. In addition to being a framebuilder, he also painted frames for other builders, worked as a mechanic in local shops, and was an avid acoustic guitar player who was a frequent performer in area coffee shops and festivals. Greg passed away on Valentine’s Day 1990 due to complications from AIDS but his legacy continues to shine on through his work because Diamonds are forever bikes.
Roxy here: I had only bought one bike as an adult: an ‘88 green and purple Specialized Rockhopper. While my husband Mick owned seemingly a bike for every occasion, I thought just the one would do… well, I was wrong. When Mick and I went to purchase yet another bike for him last October, we were shown this sparkling purple Diamond and I swooped. I might not know what parts or companies are special or important or “good”, but I know when something is pretty.
(this bike bell was purchased for me as a wedding gift from pete who used to work here at swrve too!)
I asked Mick to explain more about the bike itself, because I quite literally have no idea how bikes work, when I look at them it’s kind of like this meme:
Both my Rockhopper & this Diamond painted by Joe Bell were purchased from Anna-Marie, an 89 year old avid cyclist who lives near Santa Barbara. She moved there many decades ago from out of the US with her husband in large part because of their love of wind-surfing and cycling, and southern California is the perfect place for those activities. She doesn't like to sell her bikes often, she's quite precious with which live in the garage and which live in the house to protect from the salty air and thieves, but Mick and I have proven ourselves as worthy next in line owners for her babies 5 years going. She still rides her bike everyday in the hills near her home, and still rides to get her groceries!
Anna-Marie pictured here right before handing off the Diamond
Here's Mick to explain the rest: “The bike as we picked it up was outfitted with drop bars, downtube shifters, and a classic '90s "harder than necessary" drivetrain. I did a quick tires swap, and shuffled a few pieces out of my parts bin just to get it rolling, to see if it fit Roxy size-wise. Once I put on a positive rise stem, flat bars, and levers...we were ready to roll...and it was a fit!"
"Added a pair of MKS Lambda platform pedals, a familiar saddle & seatpost and it was all set for some around town cruising and commuting. Her first impressions were "it's so light!" and "it's so fast!' As comfy & useful as a big tire-d basket-ed bike is, a light road bike for the city is just so fun to zip around on. I predict swapping a sub-compact double crankset & a right thumb shifter for easy access to a more mellow gearing."
"The Diamond came built with a really fun mix of some great parts of the time. Anna-Marie said that when she bought it secondhand from a ski instructor near Mammoth in the early '90s, the bike was built up with mostly Campy parts. That wasn't really her flavor so she swapped all but the headset for Dura-Ace 7400, a little Shimano 600, and some really nice Bullseye hubs.”
painted by Joe Bell in San Diego
i don't know how bikes work, but i know that i love riding as fast as possible while screaming "weeeeeeeeeeeee" thanks for reading about my pretty bike!